What is the scariest movie you have ever seen? It’s a question horror fans are all too familiar with being asked. The question is often used to gauge a person’s tolerance level to horror or to find a new gem they haven’t heard of yet. When asked the question, a horror fan can use it as an opportunity to show off their fanboy love, their extensive knowledge of really messed up or obscure titles, crack a joke and say a non-horror movie (The Polar Express), or to take a moment of honesty and deconstruct what terrified them and why it stuck with them. So what is the one movie that kept me waking up at night screaming in cold sweats for a few years in my childhood? Ghost, starring Patrick Fucking Swayze.
Clearly I must be joking around when I tell people Ghost was the movie that terrified me as a child. And yes, I often have this conversation when answering the question. So let us get that part of the conversation out of the way:
“How could you be serious? Ghost?!?! The one where a Batman/poltergeist Partick Swayze and short-haired Demi Moore make clay pottery together?”
“Yes, that’s the one.”
“But isn’t that just some cheesy romantic film with a supernatural premise that had an eyebrow-less Whoopi Goldberg kissing Demi Moore?”
“Wow, you remember that film very well. Also, yes.”
“How can you be scared of that movie?”
“One word: nuns.”
I was seven years old when I first watched Ghost with my parents. At this time I was enrolled in a private Catholic school that was tied to the local church. Here, in my early formative years, I learned my ABC’s, 123’s, and more importantly that I was going to burn in hell. It is the Catholic way. See my first grade teacher, Sister Monique, was a hardcore fire and brimstone lady of the cloth. Every day she would remind little troublemakers like myself what hell is and that if we didn’t stop being little monsters that’s where we would be heading; and those were the days I didn’t get caught committing any shenanigans. So by the time my parents thought it would be a good idea to watch Swayze and Moore’s endearing love story on family movie night, I had the idea that I was going to hell engraved in the back of my seven year old brain. I just didn’t have the visuals to go along with the ideas. Ghost fixed that problem.
Now I haven’t seen the film since this impressionable time in my life until today, but if there is one thing burned in my mind, it’s when a bad guy dies in the movie. Don’t remember? Let me refresh your memory then. See, when a good guy dies they get a big bright light shown on them, choirs sing, and they turn into beautiful astro balls as they go to heaven. But if you’ve been bad, shadows with no body of origin comes out from the darkness making incredible demonic screams and moans. They come out, surround and attack the bad guys, then these shadows drag them kicking and screaming into the darkness. Into hell. Suddenly little seven-year-old me had a visualization of something I had accepted as a reality but hadn’t fully grasped yet.
It didn’t take long for the nightmares to begin of these shadow demons coming out of various dark corners and dragging me into hell. Often times I would visualize them coming out of a portal in the building next door and then appearing in my room. Hearing the screams and moans as they come and surround me. Waking up screaming but not making any noise was a common occurrence. Looking back it’s kind of incredible what a young imagination can do with a little bit of motivation. This went on for a while and eventually, the dreams became less occurring until one day they stopped. Somewhere in that time, I discovered a love for horror movies and no matter how many horror films I watch none have matched the terror I felt from watching Ghost. Perhaps it’s because in most horror films you witness the monsters being defeated, whereas in this case I was experiencing an existential crisis where I was the monster and finally getting my upcomings. Or perhaps I was just a kid with an overactive imagination.
After writing most of this article I decided to watch the film for the first time in almost fifteen years. I was rather surprised how good the film is. It is an all around decent film. The plot is your basic comic book story line. Man dies, doesn’t cross over, figures out it was a premeditated murder, get trained by homeless ghost on how to use new ghost powers, acquires loud mouth sidekick, defeats evil, and says final goodbyes. The funny thing for me was that the only thing that is really dated, beside the fashion, was the shadows. Looking at them now they are very dated looking special effects and look kind of cheesy. The sound design on the other hand is still really good and effective, which helps soften the dated nature of the shadows.
So why tell all of this? Am I trying to make a critique on religion’s reliance on fear tactics? Am I critiquing my parents’ choice on movie nights? Am I using the power of writing to confront childhood fears? Or am I just trying to be funny? Honestly, I don’t know. I just thought it might have been an interesting story about influence and horror. Now that I’ve been honest: What are some non-horror movies or characters that scared you as a child?
Netflix Doc ‘Devil on Trial’ Explores The Paranormal Claims of ‘Conjuring 3’ [Trailer]
What is it about Lorraine Warren and her constant row with the devil? We may find out in the new Netflix documentary called The Devil on Trial which will premiere on October 17, or at least we will see why she chose to take on this case.
Back in 2021, everyone was holed up in their homes, and anyone with an HBO Max subscription could stream “Conjuring 3” day and date. It got mixed reviews, maybe because this wasn’t an ordinary haunted house tale that the Conjuring universe is known for. It was more of a crime procedural than a paranormal investigative one.
As with all of the Warren-based Conjuring movies, The Devil Made Me Do It was based on “a true story,” and Netflix is taking that claim to task with The Devil on Trial. The Netflix e-zine Tudum explains the backstory:
“Often referred to as the ‘Devil Made Me Do It’ case, the trial of 19-year-old Arne Cheyenne Johnson quickly became the subject of lore and fascination after it made national news in 1981. Johnson claimed that he murdered his 40-year-old landlord, Alan Bono, while under the influence of demonic forces. The brutal killing in Connecticut drew the attention of self-professed demonologists and paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, known for their probe into the infamous haunting in Amityville, Long Island, several years prior. The Devil on Trial recounts the troubling events leading up to Bono’s murder, the trial, and the aftermath, using firsthand accounts of the people closest to the case, including Johnson.”
Then there’s the logline: The Devil on Trial explores the first — and only — time “demonic possession” has officially been used as a defense in a US murder trial. Including firsthand accounts of alleged devil possession and shocking murder, this extraordinary story forces reflection on our fear of the unknown.
If anything, this companion to the original film might shed some light on just how accurate these “true story” Conjuring films are and how much is just a writer’s imagination.
[First Photos] ‘The Strangers’ Reboot is Already Made; It Consists of Three Movies
Director Renny Harlin (Deep Blue Sea, Exorcist: The Beginning, Cliffhanger) has been a busy man. He is rebooting The Strangers franchise with a trilogy that he has already completed according to Entertainment Weekly.
Harlin says he shot all of the films in Slovakia at the same time, and production was, “the challenge of a lifetime, but I also really embraced it. On a Monday morning, I could be shooting the second chapter, and Monday afternoon I could be shooting the first chapter, and Tuesday morning I could be shooting the third chapter. it was incredibly demanding for the actors, for the continuity in terms of the make-up and wardrobe, and for my director of photography, because we wanted to create a visual language that develops so that the movies get bigger, more epic, as we go [on]. It just kept all of our juices pumping all the time.”
He remembers the Bryan Bertino-directed 2008 original Strangers which he says impressed him so much that he never forgot it.
“I remember the experience of seeing it,” says Harlin, “I didn’t really know anything about it when I saw it and I just loved it. I thought it was fantastic and it’s stuck in my mind as one of my favorite horror films.”
He adds: “When this opportunity came to me, the idea of not doing a remake or a reboot but doing a trilogy based on the original film, I thought it was an incredible opportunity.”
As for what Harlin’s version is about he says the first movie The Strangers: Chapter 1 pretty much follows the set-up of the original: a couple is terrorized by sociopathic home invaders, and Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 will “explore what happens to the victims of this kind of violence and who the perpetrators are of this kind of violence. Where are they coming from and why?”
The targets in Chapter 1 are played by Madelaine Petsch and Froy Gutierrez (Teen Wolf, Cruel Summer).
The Strangers Trilogy is set for release in theaters next year. Harlin and producer Courtney Solomon will be participating in a panel about the three films at New York Comic Con on Oct. 12.
Original 2008 Trailer:
‘Terrifier 3’ Teaser To Play Ahead of ‘Terrifier 2’ Theatrical Re-Release
Terrifier 2 is returning to theaters nationwide beginning November 1.
Director Damien Leone will give a small on-screen introduction that will include the first public showing of the teaser from Terrifier 3. In addition, the first 100 audience members will receive a Terrifier 3 poster.
Terrifier 2 was the little indie(gogo) movie that could. It turned its shoestring budget of $250k into an $11 million windfall.
“This year has been unlike anything we could have imagined,” says Leone. “To see all the love Terrifier 2 has received and the excitement this release has inspired from fans new and old, is truly beyond words. As a thank you to our fans and the many people who worked tirelessly on this release, we want to bring it back to the big screen where it belongs. And more than that, while fans eagerly await the release of Terrifier 3 next year, we want the chance to share what we’ve been working on for the third installment because a year is just too long to wait.”
As for why the film is getting a re-release after Halloween, Brad Miska, Managing Director of Bloody Disgusting/Cineverse, says it’s a fitting adieu to the holiday.
“Terrifier 2’s return to theaters is the perfect farewell to the Halloween season, an event that will have audiences clinging onto their barf bags once again, “said Brad Miska, Managing Director of Bloody Disgusting/Cineverse. “This exemplifies the pinnacle of horror cinema, an experience that etches itself into memory. Between the exclusive Terrifier 3 scene that will only be shown in theaters to the exclusive poster, this is a night you won’t want to miss out on.”
For those who haven’t seen Terrifier 2, here is a brief description:
“Set one year after its predecessor, Terrifier 2 continued the gruesome story of Art the Clown and his insatiable thirst for murder. When a sinister force resurrects Art, he is once again upon the unsuspecting residents of Miles County. Back for another Halloween, Art sets his sights on a teenage girl and her little brother, portrayed by LaVera and Elliott Fullam, respectively, delivering a chilling and relentless tale of horror.”